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Battlefield: Bad Company Review

28 June 2008

Welcome to the 222nd Army battalion, otherwise known as B-Company. This “elite” group of America’s finest is what other soldiers like to call Bad Company. It’s a G.I. task force that is compiled of misfit soldiers and rebels that the government is basically just sending out to die. This units is considered cannon-fodder and will be the frontline, the backline, and target practice for any and all enemy troops. Unfortunately for you, this is also who you’re stationed with.

In Battlefield: Bad Company you’ll be taking charge of Preston Marlowe, the latest Army recruit in a long line of generational soldiers. Due to some mishaps in Europe involving a helicopter and a landing zone, you’ve landed yourself stationed alongside three of the worst possible comrades you could hope for. During your primary mission you’ll be keeping tabs on your Sarge, who volunteered for this company of misfits in order to get out of the army; Private Sweetwater, who talks a lot and isn’t fit to be on the frontline, and Haggard, your stereotypical American who just likes to blow $#%@ up.

DICE starts off the title with a brief scene that basically welcomes you to the 222nd battalion. It's from here you’re going to get some hands-on training in order to prepare for what’s to come. As the first mission progresses, you’ll eventually come across a dead mercenary that just so happens to be carrying a gold bar with him. Like any band of brothers, you'll be faced with a decision of morality and ethics on what your company should do with your newly found wealth. While Sarge insists it belongs to Uncle Sam, the tide slowly begins to turn towards self-gain and the American dream. This band of misfits, cast aside by America as nothing more than expendable soldiers, will have to make the ultimate decision of going for the Gold or showing a little something to Uncle Sam and the boys back home.

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One of the best things about the Battlefield series that DICE has released is how addictive and encompassing the gameplay experience can be. Battlefield: Bad Company does not disappoint in this regard at all, as right from the start you’ll get to blow a hole into the side of a building and make a few gasoline barrels explode. It is from this exact point that I was already hooked into the game.

While blowing buildings up and all is great fun, it wouldn't be possible without the Frostbite Engine. This recently designed engine allows for almost complete destructibility, changing the aspect of war-torn, first-person shooters forever. This will affect us gamers because usually one of our primary instincts while playing is always to find cover when hurt. Bad Company takes this precious commodity and turns it against you no matter where you try and hide. It is only a matter of time before you’re sitting pretty behind a wall, trying to regroup, and a tank blows a new door into the side of the building and you’re being filled with lead. This may lead some to think that dying may be a tad too common but that is hardly the case at all as DICE has implemented a neat little item to correct that potential problem.

To counteract the potential massive death counter, you’ll be shown directly out of the gate how to become an effective health junkie. In Bad Company, your trust sidekick will be no other than a syringe filled with the rich goodness of life. In order to restore yourself to a perfect 100 whenever it is convenient to you, simply inject yourself at will; of course each dose needs about two to three seconds in order to replenish. Some will find this to be a positive or a negative aspect, but it’ll ultimately come down to personal preference. This one addition seems to create something great for both newbie gamers and above and that’s a pick up and play atmosphere.

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Bad Company provides a truly pick up and play title for newcomers and veterans alike which is something that will appeal to a lot of gamers regardless of if you’re a fan of the series or not. The action is very intense, yet your team will keep things light-hearted as they crack on eachother throughout the storyline.

While some may feel that it is a tad unrealistic, it only adds to the fun-factor behind the game. People who go into the game expecting to find another Call of Duty 4-esque experience will be very disappointed. Bad Company was designed with the casual gamer in mind and absolutely shines at providing that experience across the board.

Another key aspect to a FPS is how the game handles and the responsiveness of the controls. BF: BC provides a very responsive system that has solid DualShock mapping which provides a seamless transition between actions. You’ll utilize your shoulder buttons to zoom and shoot, while your shoulders will rotate between weaponry and items. Your face buttons do the usual jump, enter vehicles, and oddly, you use triangle to knife your enemy. In short, the controls never feel awkward, which is a solid thing to have when you plan on playing a game that is so geared towards online play like the Battlefield franchise has been.

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Anyone who has ever played a Battlefield title online can tell you that the experience is almost unrivaled within the genre. DICE has always done a great job of providing an exciting fast-paced, action filled online experience that would entertain just about anyone. Battlefield: Bad Company continues this trend except it also cripples itself all at the same time. Fortunately the game provides an online atmosphere with great replay value, however DICE decided to release only one game mode out of the box, which is terribly disappointing.

With only Gold Rush to enjoy, BF fans are expected to make the best of it as they fight towards destroying the defending teams gold much like your generic attack and defend situation. I’ll be honest and admit that even with one mode, I found myself playing for three to four hours at a time as the thrill of the kill kept the adrenaline pumping. With EA planning a future FREE update that will implement an entirely new game mode for gamers to enjoy, you can give Bad Company a little bit of leeway until then.

Like a couple of other online shooters, Battlefield works on an experience system in order to unlock new weaponry and new items such as the syringe of health. On top of this, you can still earn badges for marksmanship and other various feats. All of these things compiled together add up to a great online experience that any gamer can enjoy taking part in.

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If you’re looking for some minor downfalls from this title outside of the lack of online game modes, you’re going to find very little to actually complain about. However, while the graphics may be above average, there is a slight visual tearing that shows up from time to time. Outside of this, the audio quality is near flawless and the rest of the game plays at a very high level of quality for your dollar.

In the end, Battlefield: Bad Company is another successful outing for the boys over at DICE. Outside of its above average visuals, the game offers addictive gameplay and outstanding audio quality. Bad Company definitely rises above the ranks and falls in with some good company as this game is truly on par with its predecessors.

-The Final Word-

If you’re looking for a semi-realistic FPS that offers superb online play and a light-hearted single-player experience, Battlefield: Bad Company should be your #1 choice.
  • Destructibility is great
  • Seamless online integration
  • Entertaining dialog
  • Not enough online game modes
  • Slight visual tearing
  • No offline co-op
9.0
Platforms reviewed : PlayStation 3
See PSU's reviews scores on Metacritic and Gamerankings

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